tampabay.com

Team Canada adds Lecavalier for World Cup

By FRANK PASTOR
Published July 12, 2004


Sooner or later, Keith Primeau's bound to start taking these things personally.

Seven weeks after Vinny Lecavalier helped lift the Lightning past Primeau's Flyers in the Eastern Conference finals, the Tampa Bay center again got the better of his rival from Philadelphia.

Lecavalier on Sunday was a late addition to Team Canada for the World Cup of Hockey. Primeau was the other candidate to replace Detroit's Steve Yzerman, who is unable to play after sustaining a serious facial injury during the playoffs.

"I was very excited," Lecavalier said. "It's always nice to play for Team Canada and play in such a big tournament, and it's in Canada, so it's going to be a lot of fun."

The selection of Lecavalier was unanimous in the opinion of Team Canada's management and staff, executive director Wayne Gretzky said in a news release. "He is a great young player and had an outstanding Stanley Cup playoff run this spring and will be an excellent addition to our team," Gretzky said.

Lecavalier had 32 goals, 66 points and a plus-23 rating in 81 regular-season games this season. He added nine goals and 16 points during the Lightning's Stanley Cup run. Lecavalier joins teammates Martin St. Louis and Brad Richards on the 26-man squad, plus 13 members of Canada's 2002 Olympic gold medal team.

"It's such a big deal over here playing with these guys that won the Olympics, to be part of that team," said Lecavalier, 24. "It's going to be a great challenge. It's tough. It's a tough tournament and, from watching it, from playing in the World Championships, it's a really tough tournament to win." The eight-team tournament begins Aug. 30 in Helsinki, Finland, and concludes Sept. 14 in Toronto.